RRR! AR drachm, King Sapadbizes (20-1 BC), Yuezhi rulers in Bactria, Qunduz mint

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Bust of Sapadbizes right, Greek legend ϹΑΠΑΔΒΙΖΗϹ ("Sapadbizes") // Lion (symbolizing moon goddess, in this case) with Greek legend ΝΑΝΑΙΑ repeated left and right, monogram and crescent above. 14mm, 1.00 grams. Qunduz mint. Senior A6.1; HGC 12, 516. SKU X22.

The appearance of Nanaia on the reverse of this coin is the first recorded appearance of this goddess on ancient coinage. Nana or Nanaia was a Kushan female divinity from ancient Bactria, a variation of pan-Asiatic Nana. Nana then reappears two centuries later on the coins and seals of the Kushan kings, in particular of the mid-2nd century CE Kanishka I. The Rabatak inscription of Kanishka I invokes her as well.

Sapadbizes was a ruler of western Bactria, usually linked to the Yuezhi nomadic tribes which came out of China and settled in northern India. He is known only from his coins (which are very rare). It is likely that Sapadbizes and these other related rulers were descendants of Yuezhi tribes who had invaded Bactria and imitated the coins of the last Greco-Bactrian kings. Though it is clear from the coins, and the evidence of Chinese chroniclers, that at this time Sapadbizes was an ally or dependent of Parthia, nothing is known of the succession after Sapadbizes. However, scholars surmise that his kingdom was conquered by Kujula Kadphises, during the latter's war with Parthia, and absorbed into the Kushan Empire, probably around 30 AD.



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